1.1.1 Introduction: general

Overview of the ABAQUS finite element system

The ABAQUS finite element system includes:

  • ABAQUS/Standard, a general-purpose finite element program;

  • ABAQUS/Explicit, an explicit dynamics finite element program;

  • ABAQUS/CAE, an interactive environment used to create finite element models, submit ABAQUS analyses, monitor and diagnose jobs, and evaluate results; and

  • ABAQUS/Viewer, a subset of ABAQUS/CAE that contains only the postprocessing capabilities of the Visualization module.

Several add-on options are available to further extend the capabilities of ABAQUS/Standard and ABAQUS/Explicit. The ABAQUS/Aqua, ABAQUS/Design, and ABAQUS/AMS options work with ABAQUS/Standard. ABAQUS/Aqua contains optional features that are specifically designed for the analysis of beam-like structures installed underwater and subject to loading by water currents and wave action. The ABAQUS/Design option enables you to perform design sensitivity analysis (DSA). ABAQUS/AMS is an optional eigensolver that works within ABAQUS/Standard providing very fast solution of large symmetric eigenvalue problems. The ABAQUS co-simulation technique provides two applications, available as separate add-on capabilities, for coupling between ABAQUS and third-party analysis software. ABAQUS/Foundation is an optional subset of ABAQUS/Standard that provides more cost-efficient access to the linear static and dynamic analysis functionality in ABAQUS/Standard. These options are available only if your license includes them.

Overview of this manual

This manual is a reference guide to using ABAQUS/Standard (including ABAQUS/Aqua, ABAQUS/Design, and ABAQUS/Foundation) and ABAQUS/Explicit. ABAQUS/Standard solves a system of equations implicitly at each solution “increment.” In contrast, ABAQUS/Explicit marches a solution forward through time in small time increments without solving a coupled system of equations at each increment (or even forming a global stiffness matrix). Throughout the manual the term ABAQUS is used to refer collectively to both ABAQUS/Standard and ABAQUS/Explicit; the individual product names are used when information applies to only one product. Product identifiers appear at the beginning of each section in the manual (excluding overview sections) indicating the products to which the information in the section applies.

The manual is divided into several parts:

  • Part I, Introduction, Spatial Modeling, and Execution,” discusses basic modeling concepts in ABAQUS, such as defining nodes, elements, and surfaces; the conventions and input formats that should be followed when using ABAQUS; and the execution procedures for ABAQUS/Standard, ABAQUS/Explicit, ABAQUS/CAE, and several utilities that are provided with the ABAQUS system.

  • Part II, Output,” describes how to obtain output from ABAQUS and the format of the results (.fil) file. It also describes the output variable identifiers that are available.

  • Part III, Analysis Procedures, Solution, and Control,” describes the analysis types (static stress analysis, dynamics, eigenvalue extraction, etc.) that are available. Detailed discussions of the differences between how ABAQUS/Standard and ABAQUS/Explicit solve finite element analyses are provided in this chapter.

  • Part IV, Analysis Techniques,” discusses various analysis techniques available in ABAQUS such as submodeling, removing elements or surfaces, and importing results from a previous simulation to define the initial conditions for the current model.

  • Part V, Materials,” describes the material modeling options and how to calibrate some of the more advanced material models.

  • Part VI, Elements,” describes the elements available in ABAQUS.

  • Part VII, Prescribed Conditions,” describes the use of prescribed conditions, such as distributed loads and nodal velocities.

  • Part VIII, Constraints,” discusses the use of constraints, such as multi-point constraints.

  • Part IX, Interactions,” discusses the contact and interaction models available in ABAQUS.

The manual also includes indexes of all of the elements available in ABAQUS/Standard and ABAQUS/Explicit.


ABAQUS/Standard and ABAQUS/Explicit can be run as batch applications (see Execution procedure for ABAQUS/Standard and ABAQUS/Explicit, Section 3.2.2, for details) or through the interactive ABAQUS/CAE environment (see Execution procedure for ABAQUS/CAE, Section 3.2.3, for details on how to start ABAQUS/CAE). The main input to the ABAQUS/Standard and ABAQUS/Explicit analysis products is a file containing the options required for the simulation and the data associated with those options. There may also be supplementary files, such as restart or results files from previous analyses, or auxiliary data files, such as a file containing an acceleration record or an earthquake record for dynamic analysis. The input file is usually created by ABAQUS/CAE or another preprocessor. Both input file usage and ABAQUS/CAE usage information are provided in this manual.

As described in Defining a model in ABAQUS, Section 1.3.1, the main input file consists of two sections: model input and history input. The input is organized around a few natural concepts and conventions, which means that even though input files for complex simulations can be large, they can be managed without difficulty. The basic syntax rules that govern an ABAQUS input file are discussed in Input syntax rules, Section 1.2.1. The ABAQUS Keywords Reference Manual contains a complete description of all the input options available in ABAQUS. For a detailed introduction to using ABAQUS for your analyses, it is recommended that you follow the self-paced tutorials in Getting Started with ABAQUS. Refer to the ABAQUS/CAE User's Manual for detailed information on working with ABAQUS/CAE.

In addition, many analyses that demonstrate the numerous capabilities of ABAQUS are discussed in the ABAQUS Example Problems Manual, the ABAQUS Benchmarks Manual, and the ABAQUS Verification Manual. As a supplement to the ABAQUS Analysis User's Manual, these examples can help you become familiar with the functionality that ABAQUS provides and the structure of the ABAQUS input file. For example, Beam impact on cylinder, Section 1.6.10 of the ABAQUS Verification Manual, discusses the various modeling techniques that can be used to analyze the dynamic response of a cantilever beam.

Reviewing the results of an ABAQUS simulation

Information on requesting output from an ABAQUS simulation is discussed in Output, Section 4.1.1. Requested results from an ABAQUS simulation are viewed through the Visualization module in ABAQUS/CAE (also licensed separately as ABAQUS/Viewer). The output database file is read by the Visualization module in ABAQUS/CAE to create contour plots, animations, X–Y plots, and tabular output of ABAQUS results. See Part V, Viewing results,” of the ABAQUS/CAE User's Manual for detailed information on using the Visualization module in ABAQUS/CAE.